Christian

My grandson, Caalab Royce met a girl a while back and they have been almost inseparable ever since. Her name is Chloe Foster, and she is as sweet as she can be. These kids are perfect for each other. Both are dedicated to their families and to each other’s family too…and the cool thing is that their families like each other too. It’s always special when you can join two families…because the kids got together. When Caalab met Chloe, his whole life changed. I really didn’t hear about anything else but Chloe, and when we met her, we could see what he saw in her. Her personality was totally infectious, and I enjoyed meeting her very much.

As Chloe’s birthday approached I began to wonder about this girl who holds my grandson’s heart. I knew that she is studying criminal justice in college, and that she is a Christian, which makes me very happy. She has a sweet spirit, which I have seen in the things she posts. Caalab tells me that she has been spending part of the “shelter-at-home” time in which we have all found ourselves, studying the Bible. She is a girl who prays and allows God to lead her in the way she should go. These kinds of things make my heart glad.

Chloe is also a very talented artist. She recently sat down and is just a few hours she had painted a watercolor picture of Bob Marley. Caalab really likes Bob Marley, so he was very impressed with her work. I don’t know too much about Bob Marley, but I know enough to recognize him in her painting. She did a good job. Recently, I friended Chloe’s mom on Facebook, and when looking at her pictures, I saw some of the funnier ways that Chloe uses her artwork…namely, greeting cards. I won’t display them here, but let’s just say she thanked her parents for their part in giving her life…her mom for Chloe’s first home, and her dad for putting her and her brothers, Tyson and Tanner, in the race in the first place. The cards were tastefully done, and very sweet in a funny sort of way, but they told me more about this girl who has loved cows for much of her life. I thought it funny, when my granddaughter, Shai Royce, Caalab’s sister, told me to buy Chloe something with a cow on it for Christmas…now, I can see that Shai knows Chloe pretty well. Shai loves Chloe as much (well almost as much) as Caalab does. As a grandmother, I can say it is heartwarming to know that someone cares so much for my grandson…that she not only holds his heart, but she protects it too. Today is Chloe’s birthday. Happy birthday Chloe!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Saint Patrick’s Day…a day to celebrate being Irish. For me, Saint Patrick’s Day always felt like a borrowed holiday…probably because I don’t live in Ireland. The reality is that while I don’t live in Ireland, I am part Irish…9% to be exact. With the Irish in my family history, I would have expected my percentage to be for that 9%, but the reality is that most families migrated around the world, and while a family might have been in a country for centuries, they may not have originated there. Nevertheless, I had and still have family who live in Ireland, so I guess that makes me enough Irish to make Saint Patrick’s Day as much my day as it is anyone else’s. In reality, it is a day to remember the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was a missionary who heralded the shift from paganism to Christianity in the fifth century, when he was in his 40s. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on what is believed to be the anniversary of his death…March 17.

It is traditional to wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day, but why is that? Legend has it that if you’re wearing the color green, the quintessentially Irish, fairy-like creatures called leprechauns won’t be able to see you. And if they can’t see you, they can’t pinch you. Interestingly, before Saint Patrick’s Day got started, leprechauns were known not for wearing green but red. These days, the leprechauns have begun to outsource pinching to the rest of the world, or maybe we just took it over. Even the Irish flag has green in it. It is deeply symbolic. The green represents the Irish Catholics, the orange represents the Protestants and the white represents peace between the two. The green itself is called “shamrock green.” And speaking of shamrocks, shamrocks are one of the national symbols of Ireland, and not without reason. St. Patrick himself used the green, three-leaf clover to teach the Irish about the Holy Trinity: one for the father; one for the son; and one for the Holy Spirit. The four-leaf clover is just a symbol of good luck, if you believe in luck. Personally, I prefer blessing over luck.

When a large population of the Irish came to the United States in the mid-1800s, they wore the color green (as well as the Irish flag) as a point of national pride, further solidifying the relationship between the color green and the Irish…in the American imagination anyway. But lets face it, it’s really about the kid in all of us. Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with pinches and shamrock accessories might seem silly, but it can be a great way to spend a day being a little bit on the goofy side. Friendly pinches of those who are forgetful, and show up with no green, is a great way to spend that one day…often still cold and even snowy, having a little bit of silly fun. And then there is the green beer, the green Chicago river, and the green clothing, hair, and beards of our friends.

Yesterday, I had the unique opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor speak at a seminar. Her name was Inge Auerbacher, and she was an amazing woman. Inge was the last Jewish child born in Kippenheim, a village in South Western Germany located at the foot of the Black Forest. She was the only child of Berthold (1898–1987) and Regina Auerbacher (née Lauchheimer, 1905–1996). Both of her parents came from observant Jewish families who had lived for many generations in Germany. Her father proudly served in the German army, but when the Nazis came for them, his loyal service meant nothing to them. They were Jewish, and that fact condemned them to the concentration camps. Loyal service could not compensate for Hitler’s crazed hatred of the Jewish people.

Inge had barely started school when her family as deported to Czechoslovakia and sentenced to the Terezin camp. When she and her parents went in, Inge was seven years old when she went into Terezin. She would be there for three years. I will not say she called it home for three years, because it was definitely not a home. Inge tells of the companions she always knew would be there…the rats, mice, fleas, and bed bugs. The prisoners were allowed two showers a year…yes, I said a year. No wonder those companions hung around. Another occasional companion was lice which meant shaved heads to make removal easier. All of this was horrible, but it was the least of the nightmare. The guards gave brutal beatings…especially the women guards. The scientists performed experiments on the people, and they were given very little to eat. They were doing everything they could to kill their prisoners. Nevertheless, it was all too slow for Hitler.

A total of 140,000 people were shipped to Theresienstadt concentration camp near Terezin; 88,000 were sent primarily to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, and 35,000 died of malnutrition and disease in Terezin. Of the 15,000 children imprisoned in Terezin, Inge and her parents were among the 1% that survived. Her childhood friends, especially her best friend, Ruth lost her life at Auschwitz. Ruth’s father was half Christian and half Jewish. She was raised Christian, but it didn’t make a difference. She and her family were executed for their Jewish heritage. Poor Ruth was deported to Auschwitz in one of the last transports. Ruth and the other children marched with their parents to their final destination, not knowing what was to come. They were told they were going to the showers, but it was the gas chambers, and their parents would not tell them otherwise. It would have been far too cruel. For me, the picture that Inge found years later, of Ruth as a little girl, has stayed vividly in my mind. She was a sweet, innocent little girl, who had done nothing wrong, but her life was taken away from her because she was pat Jewish…because Hitler hated the Jewish people. Hate…an ugly word. Inge says that this type of treatment happens when people lose their humanity. She would tell you, “Never lose your humanity.”

Many people think of Kindergarten as almost a play date. They think of a classroom filled with toys, books, and craft supplies, as well as a playground for recess. Many people think of it as a daycare for working parents, and of course, a place for early childhood development. All these are good things, but this was not the original plan for the creator of Kindergarten, German born Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel. He wanted it to be a place that was both ‘a garden for children’, where children meet with environment and also ‘a garden of children’, where they play together and express themselves in a smaller garden world by means of play with their age group. He believed that “children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.”

I’m sure this sounds odd to most of us, but when you look at his background, I think you will understand why he felt the way he did. Fröbel had an unhappy childhood with a severe step-mother. He was abandoned and treated in a strict fashion as a child. He got to know what happiness was, when he was living with his uncle’s family while studying at high school. He had a huge desire for education, strong Christian faith and love of nature. He studied mineralogy in Jena, Germany and architecture at the Berlin’s Humboldt University. Inborn skills of an educator helped Fröbel to realize the failure of teaching system because of its incompleteness and the failure to include the outside world in the educational process. The first kindergarten was established by Fröbel in Bad Blankenburg in 1837. He renamed his Play and Activity Institute to a ‘kindergarten’ two years later in 1840. That Bad Blankenburg Infant school used play, games, songs, stories, and crafts to encourage children’s imagination and broaden their physical and motor skills. “Kommt, lasst uns unsern Kindern leben” Come, let us live with our children’ turned into the catchphrase of the early childhood education.

Friedrich Fröbel also used studying and nurturing plants in a garden for stimulating children’s interest in the natural world. In reality, we can trace the similarities to the Montessori school system and the Pestalozzian consideration of importance to grow up in harmony with nature. Fröbel paid much attention to preparing for further school education by training the children through the complimentary self expression, creativeness, collective involvement, and motor activity. He considered training of all the vivid faculties: artistic, imaginative, linguistic, arithmetical, musical, aesthetic, scientific, physical, social, moral, cultural, and spiritual, complete growth and harmonious development to be even more important than any kind of knowledge. Fröbel’s kindergarten system flourished globally. Most kindergartens were organized for children of all social classes, ethnic groups and religious believes, Jewish as well as Christian. Fröbel’s vision of kindergarten seems to be so familiar and proper, however it was a fresh and revolutionary look on early childhood education in his time.

anne_frankI am not related to Anne Frank, but her story is one that, while I cannot relate to personally, nevertheless touches me deeply. Anne, like another woman who I have long respected, Corrie ten Boom, went through some of the deepest forms of hatred there can possibly exist in this world. Anne was a Jewish girl, just turning 13 on this day, June 12, 1942, and Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch Christian woman who helped as many Jewish people as she could during the ugliness that was Hitler’s reign, and that would eventually take Anne’s life. The two women never met in person, to my knowledge, but while Anne may never have heard of Corrie, I’m certain that Corrie heard of Anne. The plight of the Jewish people touched Corrie ten Boom deeply too…deeply enough that she and her family risked their lives trying to hide the Jewish people from Hitler’s men, and act that eventually precipitated their capture and imprisonment, because it was against the law to help the Jewish people.

Hitler hated the Jewish people, and in reality, was probably afraid of them…hence his need to rid himself of them. Hitler was insane. During the time that Hitler was taking the Jewish people prisoner, and killing them, a young girl named Anne Frank was turning 13, and was given a diary for her birthday. Having been a young girl with a diary, I can relate to the excitement of getting a diary in which to record your deepest thoughts, hopes, dreams, and secrets. I can also say that at that time, I felt like my life was relatively boring, and so writing in my diary quickly became a chore, and was soon forgotten. I have to wonder if Anne’s diary might have suffered the same fate…had things been different. Most kids get pretty bored with writing down their thoughts everyday, but Anne’s life was about to change forever. She was about to spend the next two years in hiding in a secret room in her father’s office, along with four other families, dependent on loving Christians for their every need.

The Nazis were coming, and they were determined to kill every Jewish person they could. Anne and her family had to go into hiding. And so it was, that a young girl trapped behind a wall that led to a secret room, where silence was essential for survival, began to write down her thoughts and experiences in what would become the most read diary in history. Anne would not live to become an adult, to marry, or to have children, and yet, she would go on to become one of the most well known children in history. My great aunt, Bertha Schumacher Hallgren said that anyone could become a famous writer, if they just wrote about the events of their life, and colored it with some information about the time in history in which they lived. That is exactly what Anne Frank Anne Frank Diarydid. I have to think that she assumed that no one would care about her little life spent in hiding, much less about how a 13 year old girl felt about it, but after she died of Typhus in a prison camp called Bergen-Belsen, just one month before the end of the war, they did care. The Christian friends found her diary after their capture, and kept it in the hope of giving it back to her. Her father lived through that horrible time, and the diary was returned to him. He had it published in her honor in 1947. The book was called “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and has been made into a movie too, because in the end, it told the world about a very ugly time in history.

imageimageIn some ways, I think my sister-in-law, Rachel Franklin Schulenberg, is a lot like me. She has a nostalgic side when it comes to things of the past, as do I. I think we both wish time wouldn’t go by so fast, or that our children and grandchildren wouldn’t grow up so fast. I suppose that is harder when you have family who live somewhere else, as both Rachel and I do. You just miss them so much when you can’t see them often.

Rachel is a strong Christian, who has the heart of a giver. She tries to be helpful to all who need her help. That is such a great trait to have. So many people these days think only of themselves, but not so Rachel. I’m sure that is partly why she has a number of very good friends. People tend to want to be around people who aren’t selfish. I agree with that. Those are the kinds of people I want to be around too.

Rachel is mother to Cassie, Riley, and Tucker, and grandma to Lucas and Zoey. Her children and grandchildren are precious to her. All of them, except Tucker live in Powell, Wyoming, so she doesn’t get to see them nearly as often as she would like to. I think that has to be the hardest think for a mother or grandmother. You miss them terribly when you don’t see them, and you are torn at the end of every visit, because it will be a while imageimagebefore you see them again. Yes, phones and Internet make it easier to be apart, but they don’t compare to being with your child or grandchild. Nevertheless, not everyone wants to live in the same place, and as they grow up, children have to decide for themselves…at least that’s what Rachel and I keep telling ourselves. Maybe someday our minds will take hold of that thought, but I seriously doubt it. In the meantime, I guess we will just have to continue to cultivate our nostalgic side. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageSince my grand nephew, Topher Spicer’s mom, my niece Andrea Beach has been a single mom for most of his life, he has given himself the job of being the man of the house. He is very protective of his mom. He doesn’t like it when she gets hurt and is the first one there to take care of her when she doesn’t feel well. He is more than a son to her, he is her best buddy!!

Topher is a kid who loves family. While he is his momma’s boy, he very much loves his dad and half-sister too. He loves spending time with them in Utah, but misses and worries about his mom, while he is away from her. He really is such a sweetheart, with a big heart of gold. He is also very close to his grandparents, my sister Caryl and her husband, Mike Reed. He enjoys coming to Casper with them when they come down to work on their ranch, and that lets the rest of the family see him once in a while too, since he lives in Rawlins. And as for Caryl and Mike…well, they tell me that Topher is a joy to take care of.

Topher is an independent young man, who has a great imagination, and is very creative. He is really into Pokémon…are they seriously still around…and Jurassic World…I can’t believe they are back, but I guess you have to be a ten year old boy to really understand the things they are into. He likes to swim and ride his bicycle, and he also loves to play Yahtzee and work puzzles…something I personally don’t have the patience for. But Topher is a kid who has the ability to focus, and he is ok with sitting still, when he is working on something. That fact was made clear to me when he came down the last time for a visit. As we were working on going through our parents’ things, Topher sat quietly and played on an iPad. The thing I found so interesting was that my mom’s cat, Lewie wanted to sit right next to Topher. I suppose that doesn’t seem strange to most people, but Lewie usually hides from all kids, so for him to choose to sit next to Topher was…well, amazing.

Topher is coming into his own in many areas, but one of the most important is his relationship with God. His mother, Andrea has taught him to love the Lord, and to have a close walk with Him. And Topher has made that relationship his own. To him, God is a friend…his very best friend. He has a strong Christian walk, and loves 20311_887826524617215_9048743171960109874_n988580_10206710115732403_7719499969783074275_nto talk to others about the Lord. The most important thing to Topher is to do the right thing in God’s eyes. Would that all people felt the same. I think this world would be a much better place. Strong Christian values are of the utmost importance to our world, and in our own lives. And Topher has those values. We are all very proud of him. Today is Topher’s 10th birthday…and, he got to go to Disneyland with his mom, and grandparents, Warren and Diane Beach. What a great birthday present for a ten year old boy!! Happy birthday Topher!! I hope your trip is amazing. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Zina HansenJust seventeen hours after my mother passed away, my son-in-law, Travis Royce lost his grandfather, Zike Hansen.  I knew Zike even before I knew my son-in-law, because I worked for Zike’s sister-in-law, Jimmy Foster and her husband, Don. When I went to work for Don and Jimmie, I had never even touched a computer. I’m sure you are wondering what that has to do with anything, but believe me, it does. At that time Zike and His wife, Virginia, who is Jimmy Foster’s sister, were working in Deadwood, South Dakota on the gambling machines. What struck me the most was that they knew about computers, and when laptops came out, they got one right away. That impressed me, because I knew so little about  computers…unlike the me people know today.

When my daughter married, her husband, Travis, a new connection to the Hansen family. I had known them in a round about way for years, in that I went to school with their son, Randy, but I never knew them personally until I worked for Don and Jimmy. Now, we were family. Most people might think that it wouldn’t have changed too many things, and I suppose it didn’t exactly except that we saw a little more of each other.

Nevertheless, it seems strange to me the number of things I didn’t know about Zike Hansen. I knew that he was a Christian, because the kids got married in their church by our pastor. It was a good way to join the families. What surprised me at the funeral is that the cross that graces the alter at their church was built by, none other than, Zike Hansen. I have always though it was beautiful, but I had no idea that it wasn’t manufactured at some factory. Good job Zike!!

Another thing I had never heard about Zike is that he was struck by lightning…not once, but twice!! The first time he was about fifteen or sixteen years old…that was about 1949 or so. The second time was in the 1950s. Now I can’t imagine being imagestruck by lightning once, but twice…well, all I can say is, “Wow!!”  Zike was never struck by lightning again, so I guess that he must have decided, that given his electric personality, it was best to…run whenever the sky started to grow even the slightest bit cloudy.

Zike Hansen was a one of a kind sort of guy, with a great sense of humor. He was the kind of man you thought of as a friend from the first time you met him. He just made people comfortable that way. I’m thankful that he knew God, because I want to see him again when I get to Heaven. In the meantime, I’m going to miss his electric personality, but I know that he and my parents are having a great time in Heaven.

Young Carl SchumacherMany people, myself included, believe that our country was founded and populated in an effort to escape religious persecution. Looking back on several branches of my family tree, as well as that of my husband, I see the personal accounts of a number of people who dealt with persecution first hand. People such as my Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, who makes not of it in her journals when she speaks of her father, my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher’s return trip to Germany to visit family members who were still living there. During that time, the German government was doing it’s very best to force people to deny the very existence of God on any level, and their lack of any need for a god to lean and rely on. So often, I think of religious persecution, such as we have in the United States today, as being a problem of the current times. I suppose that is because it feel very personal to me at this time in history, but in reality, I suppose it is nothing new. In fact, the Bible says that there is no new thing under the sun.

When my great grandfather made the trip back to his homeland, he had plenty of time. His visit was extended for several months. It was most likely during that time that he became more and more convinced that his move to the United States was the right one for him. While he was free, or at least relatively so, to practice his faith imagein his own way, there was, nevertheless, a number of incidences whereby doing so could be frowned upon to say the very least. That fact would not be something that would deter my grandfather from standing on his faith, and it would renew his love for his new country, and his reasons for coming here to it.

I have run across many other ancestors, particularly on the Knox side of the family who suffered persecution from people in their homeland over their choice of religious beliefs. It’s strange to think that when someone receives a revelation concerning God’s word, that they are immediately looked upon as severely brain damaged. Why is it that people would assume that we humans, with our small minds would somehow have the capacity to know everything God intended for us to know…that there couldn’t possibly be anything else for us to learn from His word. And yet, that is exactly what we do. That is why our forefathers left the old world, and came to America in the first place. The churches they were forced to be a part of, or the removal of any kind of religion from their lives had left them with no choice but to leave the country they have called home all their lives, and move to an unknown world.image

I don’t know how many immigrants arrived here as a result of religious persecution, but I do know that our nation has somehow lost sight of why we first began to exist. There are so many religions in the world today…especially Christians and Jews who are bring brutally persecuted right now.  I still believe in freedom of religion. I may not agree with some of the religions in the world, but each person should have the right to believe as they choose. And no one should ever have to pay for their beliefs with their lives. I know that this world will probably not change that until Jesus returns, and I think that is very sad.

My parents on their wedding daySixty years ago today, my dad married my mom. If Dad was alive today, we would be planning on a party to celebrate the event. It makes me sad that they didn’t get to reach their 60th anniversary together. I remember that just 10 short years ago, we were celebrating their 50th anniversary, and soon after they left on the Alaskan cruise that we gave them. It was the trip of a lifetime for them, and one they never forgot. It made us all feel really good…to know that they had such a wonderful time. I am so glad we gave them that trip. They had always wanted to go, and now, looking back, and knowing that just 4 short years later, Dad would be gone, it was like a last chance that we didn’t know about.

Mom & Dad - Alaskan Cruise on StairsWe spoke to them several times during their trip. It’s funny that two people who weren’t sure that they wanted to go on a cruise without making it a family trip, were the same two people who didn’t want that trip to end. I can understand that. Although they would have had an amazing time on the trip if we all could have gone along, they nevertheless had a love of travel, and found the places they saw to be exciting and fun. Their natural curiosity would have quickly removed any disappointment at going on the trip alone. They were like a couple of kids on a very cool field trip. When I asked them, as their trip was nearing its end, if they were ready for it to be over, they told me, “No.” I knew they would feel that way from my own experience following our 25th anniversary cruise.
Mom & Dad Alaskan Cruise (formal)
My sisters and I have always felt very honored to have the parents that God gave to us. We were raised in a stable, Christian home filled with lots of love and the very best values. We were taught teamwork and mutual respect. We were taught to forgive and to set aside anger, for the greater gift of love. I couldn’t have asked to be a part of a better, more loving family, or to have better parents. Today is my parents 60th anniversary. Though Dad is in Heaven, Mom has never married another man. Theirs was a once in a lifetime kind of love that would last forever. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!! We love you both so very much!!

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